8 work-from-home hacks when you live with your parents

Monday, April 8, 2024

If you’ve never been called to go on a silly errand during a work call or a presentation, then you don’t know what God has done for you. Working from home when living with your parents is a hell that is largely underrated.

We all know that ‘outside’ is expensive. The idea of staying back in your old room without having to worry about light bills and house rent sounds pretty cool. That’s until your mom sits you down on a Saturday morning to question you about why you’re not married yet and why all you do is “press phone and system”.

Working from home when living with your parents is the real ghetto! While it’s the new normal, some of our parents still don’t grasp that you are at work and at home at the same time. Yes, the confusion is real.

So, here are a few things I would do if I was in your shoes right now:

Credit: rollingstone.com
  1. Establish a ‘work altar’: Dramatic, but yes take it that seriously. A proper office chair and table in a clear corner will remind everyone: “there is an office here”. Establishing a ‘work altar’ can help you create a designated space for work when working from home. Having a designated work space can help you establish boundaries with your parents or even housemates, letting them know when you are available and when you are not. That way, they know “serious business happens here!”

2. Never back the door: If your mum walks in while you are on a video call, you want to ensure she is not walking straight into your meeting. Think of it more from an arrangement perspective than an intrusion. Because to be fair, it’s still their house. So, when setting up, you might want to consider setting up your work altar in the least intrusive area.

Credit: istockphoto.com

3. Communicate schedules ahead: “Dad, I will be working from 1pm to 4pm, and 5pm to 6pm. It matters to the success of my work that I concentrate as much as possible”. Something like this might work wonders. This helps in avoiding distractions and interruptions during important work hours. Scheduling ahead also helps in balancing family time and work time.

4. Paste notes on your door: You are a creative young person. Make posters with markers or print something. “Meeting ongoing”, “deep work mode”, etc. Trust me, you don’t want sudden walk-ins in the middle of you trying to convince a client to work with you. It also helps set boundaries and establishes expectations for your work time, avoiding confusion or frustration among family members. Additionally, by having the notes readily visible on your door, it can act as a reminder for you to focus on work and minimize distractions.

5. Have ready placards on your desk: Someone has walked in and you need to talk without having to talk. Have placards you can raise in the air: “Almost done, give me 5 minutes”. This helps to minimize distractions and creates a more productive work environment for you. By having placards on your desk, family members are more likely to respect and adhere to the established boundaries, leading to a smoother work-from-home experience.

6. Set a time to be home, and be home: If you want your work time to be respected as though you aren’t home, then have periods when you actually are — chores? conversation? dinner? You can’t afford to be home all day without being home. Sometimes, they might just want you to spend some time with them. Tell them about that terrible work experience, or the rude team member. Ask for their advice. Let them feel like a part of your life. This might be all you need to earn your privacy.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

7. Invest in good headphones: Sometimes there will be visitors or some loud movie or fun activity at home. This is where good headphones come in, to tune out and focus. Good headphones can provide you with a better listening experience, blocking out distractions and improving the overall audio quality. This can help you stay focused on your work while minimizing distractions from family members and other household noises. Additionally, using headphones can help protect the privacy of your conversations and minimize disruptions for others in your home.

8. Have loudspeakers for backup: Using loudspeakers can also increase the quality of your audio calls, making communication with colleagues clearer and more efficient. You can also use loudspeakers to play background music, which can improve your focus and overall productivity. So, if nobody will respect that you are at work, then get some powerful speakers and ensure everyone joins these meetings with you. You can apologize later.

There you have it, our top 8 tips on how you can the most of your work-from-home life even when living with your parents as a freelancer. Which of these do you think would be most effective for you? Got any useful tips we left out, share with us!


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